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RWBY - Tropes L to N

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    Tropes L 
  • Lampshade Hanging: Twice during awkward pauses, tumbleweed blows by. The second time, Penny breaks the silence by commenting "Sure is windy!"
  • Laser Sight: When Team RWBY fights a Paladin being controlled by Roman Torchwick, Yang explodes Weiss's ice to create a dense fog that obscures everyone's vision. Torchwick responds by activating several laser sights to see through it.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Volume 4/5 promotional and concept artwork shows the new costumes and physical states of the characters. For anyone who is new to the show and starting from the beginning, this spoils some events that occur at the end of Volume 3 and start of Volume 4. Volume 4 artwork reveals that Yang lost her arm at the end of Volume 3. Meanwhile, the early Volume 4 artwork for Blake still hides the fact that she is a faunus, but the disguise is quickly dropped. Later on, Volume 5 artwork shows Yang's prosthetic and no longer attempts to pass Blake off as human.
  • Late to the Tragedy: In the Volume 3 finale, poor Ruby reaches the top of the CCT a little too late and is only able to watch as Pyrrha is killed by Cinder.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Silver in relation to eyes is stated to be an extremely rare color. The heroine has these very rare silver eyes and, if the legends are true, is destined to be a great huntress. Silver eyes is supposed to be a sign of a person with a mysterious, magical ability to slay Grimm; according to myth, they can slay Grimm with just a glance.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • The final line of "The Stray" ("So, you want to know more about me..."), delivered by Blake to Sun, is given a shot that is angled as if Blake is directly addressing the audience.
    • Team CFVY's entrance into the fray in the Volume 2 finale has three members use their weapons in battle, the lone exception being Velvet (the faunus Cardin was bullying back in season 1, whose weapon was the source of heavy speculation among the fandom), who was walking around with a small briefcase-looking item. Just when it seems she's about to use it, Coco stops her.
    "Hey, come on, you've spent all semester building that up. Don't waste it here."
    • The 30-second advert for "Battle of Beacon" ends with Cinder saying "Do not miss what happens next." The line is then repurposed when she says it to Mercury near the end of the episode as he's getting a broadcast of the devastation brought down on Vale, but even then it still feels like this.
  • Leeroy Jenkins:
    • Ruby dashes off to fight the Death Stalker in episode 8. She's promptly smacked by it for her trouble.
    • Jaune's also fond of suicidal charges. He seems to have grown out of this by the Volume 2 finale.
  • Left-Justified Fantasy Map: Vale. Averted with the world at large.
  • Left the Background Music On:
    • Inverted in the "Black" trailer; the robot voice saying "Intruder - identify yourself" is actually from the song "From Shadows".
    • In Yang's trailer, which makes sense given it's in a nightclub. Changes to standard background music after she slams the DJ's face into the soundboard.
    • Returns again when Yang returns to the club, and the record starts skipping until the fearful DJ pulls up the needle.
    • Happens again in Episode 1; Ruby is listening to the opening theme during the robbery. There's even some distortion as she lowers her headphones to respond to the mook, and the music ends with an audible click when she switches them off while posing in front of the store.
    • Also inverted with Flynt Coal's trumpet, every attack is taken from the soundtrack.
  • Leitmotif: In the episodes, melodies from the trailers play during character-important moments. Examples:
    • In Episode 1, a melody from "Red Like Roses" plays when Ruby shoots herself up the building that Roman Torchwick is escaping up. A little xylophone-like tune also plays during two of Glynda's appearances, first during her Big Damn Heroes moment, and then when a hologram of her appears in the airship.
    • The second part of Weiss' rant in her debut is accompanied by part of "Mirror, Mirror". When Blake joins in seconds later, though, the music switches to the melody in "Red Like Roses" that plays at 'Black the beast descends from shadows', meaning "Red Like Roses" might be the Leitmotif of the entire team.
    • A form of "I Burn" appears in Episode 5 as Yang flies through the air. "Mirror, Mirror" also reappears when Ruby runs into Weiss.
    • "Red Like Roses - Part II" plays as the two teams begin fighting the Deathstalker and Nevermore in earnest.
    • An orchestral rendition of "This Will Be the Day" plays as Jaune fights the Ursa in Episode 14.
    • A short snippet of "Red Like Roses" can be heard in Episode 16, when Ruby shows up at the docks and confronts Roman Torchwick.
    • The motifs during the food fight in "Best Day Ever" change depending on which main character is in focus. "Mirror, Mirror" and the end of "Red Like Roses Part I" are the more distinct ones that can be heard.
    • Roman Torchwick's theme. It's subtle and underscored, but if you listen closely, you notice that the music sounds like a darker rendition of certain parts of "Red Like Roses 1 & II".
    • Qrow has an associated melody first heard in his introduction at the bar.
    • Winter has a theme that can first be heard when she flies in for the Vytal Festival.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: At the end of "Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back", Jaune and Ruby take Qrow to Kuroyuri in the hopes of finding help or supplies while Nora and Ren take the mountain path towards Mistral in the hopes of getting aid for the wounded huntsman.
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: When Weiss is hit with the pie in "Best Day Ever", the boisterous theme sputters and crashes to a halt.
  • Life Meter: Huntsmen can use their Auras as personal force fields, justifying their toughness. As damage accrues, the shield starts losing energy. Although devices do exist that can help characters monitor their Aura levels which is useful during training and tournaments, the main sign of a depleted Aura in a real battle is a sudden, colored visual effect that plays across the body like breaking glass; this reveals when the Aura has shattered, which leaves them without access to their Semblance and vulnerable to damage like a normal human.
  • Light Is Good: Aura is depicted as a shimmering ring of (personally colored) light around the person channeling it. Of course, most Grimm are so dark in color they look like living shadows.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Schnee family is entirely white themed. Their surname means 'snow' and those born into the family have names that evoke whiteness. The founder of the Schnee Dust Company was a good man who used his wealth to lift the people of Mantle out of poverty. However, the current head of the family is Jacques Schnee, who married into the family and took on the family's name and symbols when he took over the business from his philanthropic father-in-law. Under his leadership, the SDC is no longer the beacon of quality and philanthropy that it once was; as a stately, white-haired, white-suited man, he looks the part and is an expert at engaging in good PR, but is a greedy businessman who not only maximises profit by cutting corners on quality, suppressing wages and workers rights, but who also terrorises his own family and seeks to control every aspect of their lives as well.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Despite its size and inertia, the Colossus is surprisingly fast on its giant armored feet, being able to chase an airship. In "Our Way", Cordovin has it run across half of city-spanning Argus bay in seconds, leap in the air and deliver a flying punch with the drill-fist to the Leviathan Grimm, impaling it in the chest.
  • Limited Animation: Most noticeable in Season 1 where all unnamed characters were animated as a black silhouette (though this was actually an artistic experiment dropped in Volume 2). All of the characters are flat and cartoony without much shading and their movements are broad and poorly synced with the background, though part of this is due to an intentional Jitter Cam effect. It can be quite jarring when viewed on a large screen. Some of this appears to be deliberate choices for a series created primarily for small screens (computers phones and tablets) All of it improves somewhat in the later seasons, though it always retains the distinctive "cartoony" style.
  • Literal Cliff Hanger: In "Mountain Glenn", Ruby is trying to get back to her camp with Zwei, but the pavement suddenly collapses. Ruby is able to save Zwei before the pavement she's holding onto breaks off.
  • Literally Prized Possession: The fourth season reveals that the hoodie Jaune's been wearing under his armor since he was introduced is a promotional item he won by sending in fifty "Pumpkin Pete" cereal box tops. As a bonus, it ties into the fact that his armor now incorporates elements and metal from Pyrrha's, since she was the spokesman for the brand.
  • Little "No":
    • Ruby's reaction to the announcement that Penny will be fighting Pyrrha at the end of "Destiny".
    • Blake's reaction to seeing Adam in "Battle of Beacon".
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Being based in a school environment and having a cross-cultural school festival/tournament on the horizon means that a lot of characters were introduced very quickly, with room for many more in the future. By the end of Volume 1 alone there were 26 named and 3 unnamed characters, with the Volume 2 opening credits introducing an extra 6 unnamed characters.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Members of the White Fang are able to roam about Blake's hometown of Menagerie freely, because the inhabitants don't know that the White Fang chapter led by Adam Taurus played an instrumental role in the invasion of Vale and the destruction of Beacon Academy, with Blake's parents only finding out when Blake and Sun inform them as such when White Fang representatives of another leader, Sienna Khan, come to visit her father. Said representatives are able to avoid suspicion by claiming that the group led by Adam is a rogue splinter faction and they're trying to apprehend him, which is a lie.
  • Loophole Abuse: In Vol.2 Episode 8, Professor Ozpin, of all people, lets Team RWBY take on a mission in the southeast quadrant, where some suspicious activity is taking place. They originally weren't allowed to because it's normally not open to first year students. But he figures since they're going to end up there anyway, he'll allow the rules to be bent slightly so they can go there to investigate.
    • In the following episode, we have this exchange:
      Oobleck: From this point forward, you have to do exactly as I say. Do you understand?
      Team RWBY: *nod*
      Oobleck: Ruby, I thought I told you to leave all your bags back at school.
      Ruby: But you didn't tell us to listen to you yet. So I didn't.
      Oobleck: ...she's not wrong.
  • Lovecraft Lite: Bizarre, gibbering monsters of unknown origins and unknown motivations wage war on humanity, which are sequestered in four little pinpricks of safety, barely able to break out of this siege. What do we get out of this dark tale? Four Action Girls ready to stab the monsters in the face!
  • Love Dodecahedron: Volume 2, hoo boy. Pyrrha likes Jaune, Jaune likes Weiss, Weiss likes Neptune, and Neptune likes anything in a skirt...
  • Low Clearance: Volume 6 opens to a battle that's taking place on the roof of a speeding train between the protagonists and a pack of Manticore Grimm. When the Grimm suddenly back off from fighting, rising up into the air away from the train, the protagonists are momentarily confused until Oscar realises the train is speeding towards a tunnel. While the protagonists make it back inside the train in time, Dudley doesn't quite make it, and his arm is crushed by the impact with the tunnel. Jaune is able to use his Aura to amplify Dudley's so that it can heal Dudley's injuries.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: On the soundtrack, "Shine" starts out with nothing but Casey Lee Williams' vocals.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: RWBY as a series is fond of this trope, with many of its songs fitting its fun, quick action sequences and style in terms of pacing and beat... which contrasts heavily with the serious, even depressing, lyrics used.
    • During the climactic fight sequence with the the Nevermore in Episode 8, the song "Red Like Roses Part II" plays. As background music, the theme fits the sequence perfectly... but the song itself (at least the part that played in the episode) is about the singer feeling depressed over the death of a loved one.
    • Volume 2 Soundtrack contains a remix of "Time to Say Goodbye" which is a lot more upbeat than the original. Cheerful tone of the remix contrasts heavily with the original lyrics which tell about lost innocence, impending doom and fighting for an uncertain cause.
    • Smile describes Illia's tragic past and her hatred towards humanity, yet the melody is very upbeat all the way through.

    Tropes M 
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Colossus contains a cannon on its right arm. Linked to it is a missile launcher that loads sixteen missiles at a time. It therefore has the option of firing a single missile or an entire barrage at its target.
  • Made of Explodium: Dust is extremely volatile. It can explode from being sneezed on.
  • Magic A Is Magic A:
    • Dust is a crystalline substance that is obtained in large quantities by mining. It can be used naturally, which requires great discipline to control, or artificially, which makes it easily accessible to anyone. Dust possesses four basic attributes (Fire, Earth, Air and Water), but it can be combined either naturally or artificially to produce new kinds of properties and attributes (such as Lightning or Gravity). Dust is considered highly volatile which creates dangerous issues with mining and storage, although its energy can be harnessed reliably in either crystal (uncut) or powder form. It has therefore been incorporated into all levels of technology from modern use in weapons, cybernetics and ammunition to old-fashioned uses such as weaving Dust into clothing or fusing it directly with a person's body.
    • Aura is a physical manifestation of the soul that can empower both humans and Faunus with training. It can block damage, enhance senses, empower weapons, heal damage and activate dust. Even animals possess Aura. Only Monsters of Grimm do not.
    • A Semblance is an ability related to an awakened Aura that manifests in ways unique to each individual. There are a wide variety of Semblances from Super Speed to Instant Runes to Selective Magnetism. It's an ability Huntsmen incorporate into their arsenal of skills and powers.
  • Magical Incantation: When Pyrrha realises that Jaune hasn't activated his Aura and doesn't even know what one is, Pyrrha decides to awakening his Aura so that it will protect him. She places one hand his chest and the other on the side of his head. By activating her Aura and reciting a short phrase, she successfully releases Jaune's soul and is able to tell that he appears to have a lot of Aura.
    Pyrrha: For it is in passing that we achieve immortality. Through this, we become a paragon of virtue and glory to rise above all. Infinite in distance and unbound by death, I release your soul, and by my shoulder, protect thee.
  • Magic by Any Other Name: Dust, according to Kerry and Miles during their RTX panel. Dust was originally the only magic system in RWBY, then along came Aura, Semblances, and other powers.
  • Magic Skirt: The creators decided from the outset that skirts would never reveal anything naughty to the audience, and the animation applies various techniques to enforce it. Characters with tight skirts such as Glynda or Pyrrha have strategic shadowing. Weiss and Ruby have layers of crinoline under their skirts that make sure nothing is visible. Nora has a white petticoat that does the same. Also, females often land or sit in ways that ensure their legs protect their modesty, and in battle, objects will get in the way, often weapons or other people. When an up-skirt shot appears unavoidable, such as Nora sitting in the hatch of an airship right at the camera's eye level, there's nothing to see except undefined white block shading that matches the colour of her petticoat.
    Monty: RWBY will be tasteful, clean and responsible. I implemented very effective ANTI UPSKIRT TECHNOLOGY! for this show.
  • Magitek: Technology appears to be powered by Dust.
  • Male Gaze:
    • In "Dance Dance Infiltration", as if Cinder wasn't already appearing as Ms. Fanservice, we got this shot based around her butt. It's safe to say that the fandom wasn't close to prepared.
    • There's also a fairly tantalizing shot of Emerald's posterior at the 5:42 mark of "Breach".
    • The butt shot returns with a vengeance in "The Beginning of the End."
  • The Man Behind the Man: There are subtle clues from the very first episode that someone else may lie behind Cinder's plan, including a first episode narration-style argument between Ozpin and a woman that is not Cinder. The clues become more obvious in Volume 3, especially during an flashback which shows Cinder updating someone by phone. Cinder's boss is Salem, a woman with such a burning hatred for Ozpin that she's willing to destroy humanity just to get back at him for an unrevealed reason.
  • The Man in Front of the Man: The first episode gives the impression that Roman Torchwick is the main villain and that the mysterious woman who flew his airship and fought off an enemy huntress on his behalf is another one of his minions. Later on the woman is revealed to be Torchwick's boss, Cinder Fall.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy:
    • Jaune and Pyrrha. The former's a clumsy timid boy who seems to be new to everything around him while the latter's an experienced and more talented girl who looks after him.
    • Nora and Ren. Nora is a boisterous Thrill Seeker who loves hitting things with her hammer, while Ren is a graceful, quiet man, who loves to cook and read.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!":
    • In Volume 2's "No Brakes", the Vale populace is bewildered when the White Fang's train bursts from the underground, with Team RWBY still dazzled from the impact. Then the Grimm emerge from the breach and invade the streets, causing a mass panic.
    • In Volume 3's "PvP", the world witnesses a savage fight that appears to result in the death of a person, and the broadcasters cannot control their own feed to cut off the grisly sight. While Ironwood attempts to take control of the crowd, the stadium is attacked, causing mass panic. Pyrrha accidentally tears Penny apart, leading Cinder to announce everyone's in danger and they can't trust the authorities to protect them, followed by the Grimm invading the kingdom en masse.
  • Match Cut:
    • In "The Stray", a shot of Ruby and Yang sadly watching Weiss and Blake argue outside in the daytime cuts perfectly into a shot of them with the same expressions still watching them argue inside their dorm late at night.
    • Tons of them in the volume 2 opening, used to interchange between the different members of Team RWBY engaged in battle or running.
    • Near the end of "Burning the Candle", a white rose that Jaune drops on the ground after seeing Weiss asking Neptune to the dance fades seamlessly into a drooping white rose amongst a bouquet at the dance.
    • The penultimate shot of "Field Trip" cuts from Team RWBY's excitement to fight alongside a real Huntsman to their shocked reactions to finding out that said Huntsman is Dr. Oobleck.
    • In "Breach", a shot of a pink cloud-filled sky fades into a shot of a yellow cloud-filled sky.
    • In Vol. 3 Episode 1, Ruby's reaction to winning against Team ABRN in the Vytal Festival tournament is jumping into the air and shouting "WE DID IIIIT!"; as she's midair, the scene behind her changes to the Vytal fairgrounds.
    • In "Fall", a shot of Amber's face cuts perfectly into a shot of Cinder's.
    • To show the stark difference between the modern desolation of the town of Kuroyuri and its thriving past, the episode "Kuroyuri" uses match-cuts to switch between present day and the past. A lingering shot of a destroyed, wilted water lily lying on solid ground fades seamlessly into a shot of the same flower when vibrant and floating on the surface of peaceful water, while the sight of a barren, wasted tree fades into a picture of it in full bloom, in front of which a very young Ren and his parents pose for a picture.
  • Meaningful Background Event: In Episode 12, while Jaune and Pyrrha are talking on the roof, Cardin can be seen in the open window below them.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • "Burning the Candle", Pyrrha gives advice to Jaune on talking to Weiss about his feelings: "No ridiculous schemes, no pick-up lines. Just... be honest." The following episode, Jaune gives the exact same advice to Neptune, signifying that he's giving up his crush on Weiss in favour of helping Neptune to woo her instead.
    • "Fall". Pyrrha is invited up to Ozpin's office where she receives praise for her exemplary performance in the recent tournaments from both Ozpin and a more cynical Qrow. When Ozpin abruptly asks her "What's your favourite fairy tale?", the normally unflappable Pyrrha is momentarily speechless. That simple question reveals the existence of earth-shattering secrets that are being kept hidden from the world by a small group of very powerful and mysterious people. This line is later codified in-universe as a signal of major plot reveals through Qrow repeating Ozpin's question word-for-word when it's finally time to bring the main characters into the loop.
    • "My hero." Sun jokingly says this towards Blake in "Of Runaways and Stowaways" after Blake catches him during the fight against the sea dragon Grimm. At this point, Blake is not happy towards this, as she is surprised and shocked at the fact that Sun has been following her ever since she decided to leave unnoticed in fear of causing any more harm to her friends. Taking Control Eight episodes later]], after Sun finally calls her out on her attitude of not wanting her friends or family near her, Blake heartwarmingly says it, not only being simple acknowledgement of Sun truly helping her, but also a sign that she has finally gotten over that fear of seeing her loved ones harmed.
    • During the battle of Haven, Cinder mocks Raven as being nowhere near as clever or powerful as her reputation claims. This triggers her attack on Vernal, which leads to a fight with Raven. When both their Auras shatter, Raven tells Cinder that if she "were stronger or more clever" she would remember to watch her back; behind her, Vernal uses the last of her strength to fire her weapon and distract Cinder, allowing Raven to throw Cinder off the vault ledge.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Many if not all of the Color-Coded Characters (so, a majority of the characters).
    • "Fall" discusses Pyrrha being chosen as the candidate to assume the powers of the Fall Maiden, and it ends with Yang experiencing a fall from grace of her own after her reputation is tarnished after she breaks Mercury's leg and gets arrested... at the arrangement of Cinder Fall.
    • The Huntsman Academies are all given names that imply protection and/or comfort in a world that is extremely hostile to the existence of humanity, such as Haven Academy in Mistral. Beacon Academy of Vale is the shining light of Remnant, implied to be its top academy. Atlas Academy is named after the Greek Titan Atlas, whose punishment was to hold up the pillar between the heavens and the earth, and suggests a motif of protection and responsibility. Shade Academy is located in the harsh desert environment of Vacuo, implying the most important necessity of such a life - protection from the sun. At the end of Volume 3, a Grimm Dragon is trapped in a frozen state on the top of Beacon Tower where, in its latent state, it continuously attracts more Grimm to the area; the ruined Beacon Academy has literally become a beacon for the Grimm.
    • The Island of Menagerie initially seems like it has an Ironic Name, as a menagerie is a collection of animals that are held in captivity as a kind of public display, however the more that is learned about the island the more it fits. The Faunus are effectively trapped on the island due to the large amount of Fantastic Racism against them in the rest of Remnant, and on top of that they are confined to only a third of the island due to the dangerous wildlife on the rest of the island. The island was given to the Faunus to honor a promise to give them a land of their own, but the danger that most of the island posed meant that the island can be pointed to by humans as an example of them being fair to the Faunus even though the reality is quite the opposite.
    • Vol.4 Ep.9, "Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back". The "two steps forward" are those of Weiss and Yang (Weiss finally learns to control her summoning powers and looks set to escape her home, and Yang has made excellent progress in learning how to fight with her prosthetic arm), and the "two steps back" are those of Ruby and Blake (Ruby sees her team splitting up, while her uncle's condition continues to deteriorate, and Blake is confronted by an old comrade from the White Fang who seriously wounds Sun).
    • Vol.4's finale, "No Safe Haven" feels a bit odd when much of the episode ends on a rather happy note, until the very last shot of the episode (minus The Stinger) that reveals Dr. Watts having a casual drink with the headmaster of Haven Academy, implying that he's Watts' informant and is in leagues with Salem. No Safe Haven indeed.
    • Even the world of Remnant itself. It is revealed that in ages past, Remnant was a beautiful High Fantasy world where the gods walked the surface of the world and magic was a powerful force everybody could use. Then Salem spited the gods with her Rage Against the Heavens, so they wiped humankind from the world and rendered their old civilizations into dust and then departed. When humanity eventually returned, they found a hostile world overrun with Grimm and their magic potential stunted into a single ability unique to each person - a Semblance.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Atlesian Knights are commonly used by the military of Atlas, especially when overwhelming numbers are required. The original model is first seen in the Black Trailer, trying to protect a train from Blake and Adam who are trying to steal the train's cargo. Despite being surrounded, the pair have no trouble defeating them. In Volume 2, General Ironwood introduces an upgraded model. However, even the upgrade is shown to be weaker in combat than the superhuman Huntsmen and Huntresses, including trainees. Ironwood's primary use for them is to fight the Grimm in the hope that humans won't have to keep dying to keep the Grimm at bay.
  • Men Are Generic, Women Are Special: Warriors who fight Grimm are called Huntsmen if male, and Huntresses if female. "Huntsmen" is also the gender-neutral term.
  • Mercy Kill: What Raven claims killing the previous Spring Maiden was.
    Raven: She wasn't cut out for this world, and with those powers she would have been hunted her entire life. What I did-
    Yang: Wasn't personal.
    Raven: It was mercy!
  • Midair Collision: Happens with Ruby and Jaune in Episode 8.
  • Midfight Weapon Exchange: During Cinder and Raven's fight, they exchange strikes so fiercely they temporarily lose grip of their swords only to continue the fighting with each others' swords after grabbing them midair.
  • Miming the Cues: Jaune gets asked a question in class that he doesn't know the answer to. Pyrrha tries to mime it to him — the answer is night vision — but he misinterprets it and answers, "Binoculars?" Cue Face Palm.
  • Minidress of Power:
    • Pyrrha Nikos wears a midriff-covering tube top-like armor with a mid-thigh skirt. It does not bother her at all, probably because it is elastic. So her skirt actually makes sense.
    • Penny, Nora, Ruby, and Weiss also count as this (though as Weiss insists, it's a combat skirt).
  • Mini-Mecha:
    • The Black Trailer introduces the Spider Droid, a massive arachnid-shaped beast of a combat machine. Although it appears to function like the humanoid Atlesian Knights, the first manga reveals that it is actually a huge mecha that is powered by a tiny security robot.
    • The Atlesian Paladin is a vaguely humanoid robotic war-machine that can function as a remote-controlled battle drone. However, the torso is a cockpit that can fit an adult, who can control the Paladin directly from an internal console. While the Paladin is bigger than a human to be able to comfortably accommodate one in the cockpit, it's only approximately 2-3 times the height of a human, making it a relatively small mecha option.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: Do not damage Yang's hair, even in the slightest, if you value being in one piece and not on fire.
  • Mini-Mecha: The Atlasian Paladin, developed by the kingdom of Atlas in cooperation with the Schnee Dust Company, which allows human soldiers to fight alongside Atlas' Mecha-Mooks. Torchwick stole some for the White Fang, and used one to fight against team RWBY in "Painting the Town."
  • Missed Him by That Much: In "The Beginning of the End" Blake arrives back at her camp just as Cinder is leaving for the first time.
  • Missing Mom: Ruby and Yang both have missing mothers:
    • Yang's mom left Taiyang shortly after Yang's birth. She does show up briefly, but shows no interest in actually mothering Yang.
    • Ruby's mom Summer disappeared while on a mission; Yang says this is what broke Taiyang emotionally. So far neither the characters nor the viewers know where she is, although she is assumed dead.
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: Most weapons are based on swords, but also incorporate some elements of guns into their design. Ruby has a scythe that can fire as a rifle. Weiss's rapier has a revolver style chamber that she can rotate to cast different spells. Blake has a sword with a sharpened sheath, meaning she can Dual Wield. The second sword also has a pistol attached and has a lengthy ribbon, which she can use similar to a Killer Yo Yo or a kusarigama. Yang's mixes gauntlets and shotguns.
  • More Dakka: The weapons of both robots, such as the Atlesian Knights (who fire a hail of bullets from their fingertips) and people, are capable of overkill where firing ammo is concerned. Huntsmen often have weapons that look traditional or old-fashioned, such as axes, maces, hammers, javelins, blades, etc. However, most of them are made out of modern technology and will transform into various types of firearms. Examples include Ruby's scythe which is also a high-impact sniper rifle or Nora's hammer, which is also a grenade launcher. The fashionable Cocoa's handbag transforms into a rotary cannon, and Dr. Oobleck's thermos flash transforms into a flame-thrower. The exceptions seem to be Jaune and the Malachite sisters. Jaune's weapon is a sword and collapsible shield that either function as a traditional sword and shield or can combine into a dual-edged sword. The sisters rely on claw weapons and bladed heels.
    Random Fan: Is there going to be any weapon that does not somehow have a gun in it?
    Kerry: Why would you want that?
  • Monkey Morality Pose: In the dining hall, Nora throwing food for Yang to catch with her mouth escalates until Nora accidentally hits Weiss in the face with a custard pie. Team JNPR is shown with Ren covering his eyes, Pyrrha covering her mouth and Jaune covering one of his ears. Nora, meanwhile, points at Ren, passing the buck in a parody of the fourth monkey, 'Do no Evil'.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Vol.1 Episode 12 ends on a rather foreboding note... only to immediately go into the credits featuring the bouncy theme of the hyperactive Prof. Oobleck. The DVD version ended this episode with the more mellow leitmotif of Jaune and Pyrrha.
    • "Extracurricular" has Ruby, Weiss and Yang worrying about how Blake is too upset about Torchwick and the White Fang to bother sleeping or eating... to Jaune trying (and failing) to serenade Weiss into going to the dance with him.
    • In a meta/real life example, Volumes 1 and 2 were added to Netflix... the day before Monty Oum's death.
    • In the Volume 3 opening, it starts off with some nice soothing piano, and on screen it says "Created by Monty Oum", with a solitary red rose behind it in twilight, and a red rose petal falling onto the rose... and then the theme tune is the hard-hitting rock song "When It Falls".
    • Watching the rather touching and heartwarming "World of Remnant: The Four Maidens" is this after the dark episode "PvP".
    • Nora provides a brusque but very much needed mood shift in "Destiny" after Team RWBY gets disqualified from the Vytal Festival tournament and Blake admits her reluctance to believing Yang with a hilarious rapid-fire scene trying to get Pyrrha physically pumped for her match that ends with her lifting a 1-ton barbell only for the weight to slowly overwhelm her and make her fall back.
    • In "Welcome to Haven", a drunken guy tries advancing on Yang and receives an overcranked haymaker from her when he touches her hair. The moment's badass...until the guy starts bouncing off the walls and out of the room like a tennis ball, at which point it becomes hilarious.
    • In "Unforeseen Complications", the scene where a kidnapped Weiss is informed by her captors that Winter, her only hope for a rescue, is no longer in Mistral is directly followed by Nora lightening the mood with a quick, mile-a-minute scene of her gushing over Oscar.
  • Mook Chivalry: In Episode 1, Roman's mooks attack Ruby one at a time. Whenever human goons are smart enough to attack as a group, they usually get swept away with some kind of Spin Attack.
  • Mr. Exposition: Dr. Oobleck is the history teacher for Beacon Academy. His primary role is to educate the students, and therefore the audience, on the world of Remnant. Even when he's leading Team RWBY on a field-trip, he scatters lectures throughout their mission to explain the setting to the audience. Through him, the students and audience are introduced to the existence of a series of Faunus Wars between humanity and Faunus because the Faunus struggle with racism and equality; he explains the history of Mountain Glenn, and introduces the concept that the Grimm gain intelligence and patience as they get older and more experienced. During the Vytal Festival, he acts as one of the tournament commentators, introducing the in-universe and out-of-universe audiences to the students taking part in the competition and their abilities.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Sun's outfit of choice, a long white jacket with no shirt underneath, leaves little to the imagination in regards to his very muscular chest and abs.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Yang Xiao Long, who the song "Red Like Roses" refers to as "yellow beauty burns gold". Her primary outfit shows off a bit more of her figure than the rest of the cast, with some exposed cleavage.
    • Pyrrha Nikos. Her combat outfit features a miniskirt and thigh-high boots, corset, and low neckline. She's also noticeably taller, curvier, and more athletic than most of the other girls at Beacon.
    • Cinder Fall, who under several occasions has worn outfits that show off her voluptuous body. Let's not forget the butt shot.
    • Drinking game for when you're watching Volume 4: Take a drink everytime the camera takes a lingering focus on Weiss' long legs and you'll be wasted by the end.
  • Mukokuseki: Akin to the classic anime style, character features do not automatically reveal nationality or race. Since the setting is explicitly not based on real life Earth, names that may have strong cultural associations in real life cannot be used to determine the race or nationality of the characters. Certain continents and the naming schemes of characters from those continents have overall themes that parallel real life cultures, but are not intended to reflect the reality of those cultural inspirations. Characters from Atlas have German or French names (such as Weiss and her father Jacques), or names associated with English translations of Russian storytelling (James Ironwood's name comes from the Russian version of the Tin Man. Pyrrha, who is Greek influenced, and Lie Ren, who is Chinese-influenced, both come from the continent of Anima, which is the Asian-themed continent. While Ren's hair, manner of dress and martial arts style of fighting are heavily Chinese-influenced, his features are as pale as any other white-skinned characters. Dark-skinned characters do exist in the show, but no more indicate where a character is from that white skin does.
  • Mugging the Monster: In the very first episode, some thugs are robbing a store that main character Ruby Rose just happens to be in. When one of them brings her attention away from her headphones and magazine by trying to get her to put her hands up, she responds by throwing the offending man across the room and attacking the entire group. The main theme even begins to play as a mook spots her, and the lyrics match the situation perfectly.
    They see you as small and helpless;
    They see you as just a child.
    Surprise when they find out that a warrior will soon run wild.
  • Multinational Team: Each continent of Remnant has at least one kingdom, a safe place for humanity to flourish among the nightmarish creatures that stalk the world. Each kingdom contains an elite school that trains people to become Huntsmen and Huntresses, heroes who protect humanity from the threats to their existence. The world's best school is Beacon Academy, based in the Kingdom of Vale on the continent of Sanus, and run by the enigmatic Professor Ozpin; it either attracts the best students in the world or Ozpin actively headhunts them, so Beacon teams can consist of students who come from many different places. The heroes helping the Big Good to fight the Big Bad consist of two teams from Beacon Academy: Team RWBY, which contains Vale locals Ruby Rose and Yang Xiao Long, Weiss Schnee who is native to the Kingdom of Atlas on the continent of Solitas, and Blake Belladonna, who comes from the distant Faunus island of Menagerie. Team JNPR contains two characters of unknown origins, Jaune Arc and Nora Valkyrie, Pyrrha Nikos, who comes from the City of Argus on the continent of Anima, and Lie Ren, who comes from a completely different location on Anima, the village of Kuroyuri just outside the Kingdom of Mistral.
  • Multi-Part Episode: Volume 1 is predominantly two-part episodes, with only 4 of the 16 episodes being standalones. The fact that episode-splitting is discontinued in future volumes makes their abundant use here even more apparent.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
  • Mundane Utility:
    • In Episode 9, Ruby uses Crescent Rose to hang up a curtain. And promptly slice it in two by accident as she turns around.
    • Prof. Oobleck's weapon transforms into a coffee thermos when he's not using it.
    • The Food Fight that kicks off Volume 2 features boatloads of this, from the start right through to Glynda using her powers to clear everything up at the end.
    • In Vol.4 Episode 9, Weiss uses a glyph to slam a door closed.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: The creators have stated that Aura renders muscle mass pointless, so Remnant women are not viewed as weaker than men. Many characters therefore don't look like they can even lift their weapons, let alone fight with them; Ruby and Nora are both small women who use huge polearm-based weapons, and Yang who, despite being tall and slim, still doesn't look like she'd be one of the hardest hitters of the show. Aura isn't possessed solely by humans, animals possess it, too. As a result, Zwei, who is a tiny corgi pet of Ruby and Yang, is able to take down giant robots simply by using momentum to send them flying.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg:
    • In Best Day Ever:
      Ruby: Sisters! Friends! Weiss.
      Weiss: Hey!
    • in Welcome to Beacon:
      Sun: Ruby, Yang, Blake, Ice Queen.
      Weiss: Why does everyone keep calling me that?
    • In Painting the Town...:
      Roman: Ladies... Ice Queen...
      Weiss: Hey!
  • My Instincts Are Showing: Played with. Yang attempts to invoke this when she uses a laser pointer to distract a Cat Faunus. At first the Cat Faunus alternates between ignoring the red dot and poking at it, then ends up stalking it with her eyes fixated on the moving laser, just like a cat stalking a laser pen before it makes up its mind whether or not to pounce.

    Tropes N 
  • Neutral No Longer: By the end of Volume 5 the citizens of Menagerie, who before simply wanted to live on their island and be left alone, realize that the White Fang has devolved into a group of manipulative murderers who don't care who they have to step on to reach their goals, only damaging the Faunus' reputation as a whole by doing what they do. They also decide they've had enough of it and rally under Blake to go to Mistral to stop the White Fang from destroying Haven.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The Volume 2 trailer in spades, to the point that it may very well be parodying the trope given how quickly various moments in it were revealed in the show. Ruby holds Weiss in Pieta style, with a Skyward Scream, and (clean) Team RWBY laughing in school cafeteria, but these were all part of the food fight sequence of the first episode with no real harm done to Weiss.
    • The final group shot scene in the trailer doesn't show up in the episode it seems to occur (V2E4). The closest to that scene is Ruby and Weiss' "Ice Flower" combo attack from the same episode.
    • The trailer for the Vol.3 episode "Lessons Learned" makes Winter look a lot harsher than she actually turns out to be. The episode itself actually shows more of her sisterly side.
    • The trailer for the Vol.3 episode "Fall" implies that the main focus will be the Yang v Mercury tournament fight, with a sub-plot involving Pyrrha. The episode is instead one long Info Dump focusing on Pyrrha, and the Yang v Mercury fight lasts for all of about three minutes at the end of the episode (although it does tie heavily into the plot).
    • The trailer for "Destiny" only shows Blake telling Yang that she wants to believe her, making it come off as having lost all faith in Yang. The episode only shows her needing some convincing (that being Yang looking her in the eye and claiming her innocence) before deciding that she does trust Yang.
    • This show has a repetitive problem with an Opening variant; both the openings for Volume 2 and Volume 3 give major prominence to characters that either don't fulfill anything important or don't fulfill much before disappearing. Of note are Team SSSN and Winter Schnee—Team SSSN was teased with a similar team shot that all of the other characters got, but unlike them, half the team doesn't appear in the entire volume except for barely noticeable background characters. In Volume 3, they actually get more prominence in the opening than TEAM JNPR, the secondary team of the entire show, but got no more prominence than their one fight scene in the second episode, which did not reflect well on them. Winter Schnee similarly gets a lot of focus in the Volume 3 opening, showing her strained relationship with Weiss and her enmity with Qrow Branwen. Unlike Qrow, who sticks around the entire Volume, Winter is only around long enough to fight Qrow not ten seconds after she arrives, give Weiss a life lesson, drop off some cargo, and then leave.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Yang has one in "Family" where she is trapped in a dark room with Adam, powerless and helpless.
  • No Body Left Behind:
    • The Creatures of Grimm in the World of Remnant dissolve into black smoke upon death, making it very difficult to learn more about them. Grimm hunting trophies, such as those owned by Professor Port are invariably taxidermied replicas.
    • In the White Trailer, Weiss fights an enormous suit of armour. When she finally destroys it, it dissolves into snowflakes. The suit of armour is animated by a specially-designed group of Grimm called Armour Gigas, a type of Geist. They were designed by Jacques Schnee, the head of a family with a snow and ice theme. Just as the Grimm dissolve into smoke, so the Armour Gigas dissolve into snowflakes.
    • In the Black Trailer, Blake and Adam fight a huge Spider Droid. When Adam destroys it, the machine appears to dissolve into rose petals. The first manga averts this by rewriting the scene: the machine is left a motionless wreck after Adam cuts its cockpit open and destroys the robotic security pilot controlling it.
  • No Conservation of Energy: Averted. Weiss's overuse of her Semblance in Vol.1 Episode 8 (during the Nevermore battle) makes her gasp for breath. The implication is that Semblance takes some kind of energy away from the caster. Happens again later when she summons the knight she fought in the White trailer during "Heroes and Monsters." There's also a hint of this in "A Minor Hiccup" when Ruby carries Penny away from the soldiers chasing her for a short while before stumbling and dropping Penny. She dropped Penny because Penny is a robot and heavier than Ruby was expecting.
  • "No. Just... No" Reaction: Yang, of all people, has one in "Painting the Town" after Weiss comes out with an Incredibly Lame Pun. And it's verbatim, no less.
  • No OSHA Compliance:
    • Dust is extremely volatile; yet is sold with no security in shops along with books; and Weiss was carrying suitcases of it in insecure corked bottles. She blames Ruby when it explodes.
    • The roof of Beacon has absolutely no railings or significant walls whatsoever, as shown in a hilarious yet mildly unnerving moment when Pyrrha takes Jaune up there.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • How Ruby and Weiss got themselves a ride in the talons of the giant Nevermore is never explained.
    • The time Jaune locked himself out of his room is mentioned in "Forever Fall" but is never seen or elaborated upon more.
    • In "Lessons Learned", Qrow defends his old Beacon team STRQ's fashion sense by saying that there are a number of "inappropriate stories" that can back up the fact that they looked good, but he decides to wait on telling them until Ruby and Yang are older.
    • In Volume 5, "Rest and Resolutions", Teams RWBY and JNPR are catching up. Everyone expresses embarassment over how they acted back at Beacon, but Nora interrupts.
      Nora: Now hold on! I thought I was pretty great in school!
      Yang: Even at the dance? When you spilled punch all over yourself in front of-
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Averted; Weiss's name is pronounced correctly according to the German intonation of the words composing her name in her debut. But when asked why it's pronounced with a "W" sound as opposed to the "proper" way on the livestream prior to the first episode going public, Monty summed it up that world of RWBY is an interpretive world, that Germany doesn't exist, and fuck you. Judging by everyone's reactions when they got the question, he had been waiting a long time to say that.
  • Not Drawn to Scale: Monty released a height chart, but it's not fully accurate to the show. The most blatant case is Glynda: she's supposedly one inch smaller than Ironwood, but when they're actually together, he's One Head Taller.
  • Not the Intended Use:
    • The Atlesian military has created a large pilot-controlled robot that is capable of protecting the city of Argus from Grimm attacks that come from the deep ocean. However, Cordovin finds a different use for the robot than the one the designers originally intended. When Cordovin discovers the protagonists' attempt to steal an Atlesian airship, she deploys the Humongous Mecha to put the group down herself. Jaune identifies the true purpose of the robot and realises that it isn't designed to handle multiple opponents that are as small as humans. This allows the heroes to run circles around Cordovin, picking away at the Mecha's weapons and defenses until the robot is rendered inoperable.
    • Time Stands Still whenever Jinn is summoned from the Relic of Knowledge for everyone but the person or people asking the question. While this seems to be just to give the wielder a private space, Ruby uses it to buy time while she figures out her Silver Eyes. While Jinn admires her creativity and quick thinking, she makes it clear she won't let the feature be exploited again.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Volume 3 climaxes with an all-out assault on the City of Vale and Beacon Academy by the villains, the White Fang and the Grimm all at the same time. Although the city is saved, Beacon Academy is destroyed, leaving the students without a functional school. Volume 4 therefore kicks off with Team RWBY scattered to the winds, as a result of Weiss being taken home to Atlas by her father, Blake going on the run due to the emotional trauma of what she's experienced and Yang being left at home to recover from trauma inflicted upon her during the battle. Only Ruby is curious enough about the villains to push the plot forward in Volume 4. From this point on, childhood has ended for the students, forcing them to confront a world full of dangerous secrets even most adults don't know about. The battle results in the deaths of Pyrrha and Ozpin, the destruction of Penny, the crippling of Cinder, and the introduction of the true Big Bad Salem; meanwhile, Adam promises Blake he will destroy everything she cares about before proving it by deliberately hacking off Yang's arm to punish Blake for abandoning him in the Black Trailer. Ruby joins forces with Jaune, Nora and Ren to spend Volume 4 travelling across the continent of Anima to Haven Academy in search of information about who the villains are, what they're up to and how they can be stopped.

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